Toure fires warning to Reds

Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure has warned league leaders Liverpool they should fear a Boxing Day trip to the Etihad Stadium as even Barcelona are afraid of them.

Liverpool

The Merseysiders arrive tomorrow full of confidence as they are top of the table at Christmas for the first time in five years.

They are actually the last club to be in that position and not go on to win the title but despite rising optimism at Anfield, Toure sounded a word of caution.

Having been drawn against Barcelona in the knockout stage of the Champions League Toure has had word from inside the Catalan club's camp that is not a draw they are relishing.

"I had a call from one of my old team-mates from Spain who was quite disappointed," said the former Barcelona midfielder.

"He wasn't sure what would happen. In the past they would be confident they would go through and beat anyone but they are afraid about us.

"The way we are playing at home - and they are seeing that - means they are quite scared because we play fantastic football, we score goals and it is total attack.

"At the moment we are terrific at home. Any team who comes here we think we can score against - maybe it wont always be the case for us to achieve that every game.

"We are not the sort of team that is fearful of opponents, we are playing in an attractive way and an attacking way, and I think Liverpool will be aware of that."

City's home record is formidable as they have won all eight league matches and scored 35 goals and they are only in third place, one point behind Liverpool, because of their inferior away form.

Striker Sergio Aguero has scored eight of his 13 league goals at the Etihad but his calf injury means fans will be denied the chance to see the top-flight's two leading scorers go head-to-head.

Liverpool's Luis Suarez is in the form of his life with 19 goals in just 12 league games and Toure admits it is difficult to separate the two.

"Aguero is unbelievable, he is one of the most important strikers in this league at the moment," said the Ivory Coast international.

"He can always make something happen and his partnership with Alvaro (Negredo) was fantastic for us so at the moment missing him is a big blow for us but we have to deal with it.

"Suarez is a brilliant player and this season he is at the top. Him and Aguero are the best strikers in England, no question, and are up there as the best in the world too.

"It would have been fantastic to see them on the same pitch in this game; Suarez has everything in his game at the moment.

"But Liverpool are a team with other good players too and a good manager. It will be a big, big game."

Liverpool's progress to the top of the table has been unexpected considering they have finished seventh, eighth, sixth and seventh since coming runners-up to Manchester United in the 2008-09 season.

But Toure said that did not mean they should be under-estimated.

"They have always been a big club and maybe it is a surprise that they haven't been up there for a few years but these clubs always return, and that's what is happening at Liverpool," he said.

"People shouldn't be surprised to see them at the top but I think this game will be watched by every fan of the Premier League, around the world.

"If we win we can go above them and that will be important for us too."

City boss Manuel Pellegrini has come in for some criticism for their away form, which has seen them lose matches at Cardiff, Aston Villa and Chelsea.

His public persona may appear dour and uninspiring but having replaced Roberto Mancini just a year after the Italian guided the club to their first title in 44 years, Toure insists the Chilean has developed them into a better side.

"The manager has turned us into an amazing team. The football is amazing," he said.

"I can say that Pellegrini is a top manager, he gives everyone confidence and respects everyone.

"He comes close to the players and talks to them. Every player wants confidence, a chat with the manager and to get advice from him.

"Pellegrini is doing really well in that respect. It's not easy to have time for everyone as you have a squad of 30 players but he gives everyone confidence, whether they are in the starting 11 or not."



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